Blog written by Lisa Fathers, Director of Development, Partnerships and Teaching School Hubs (Bright Futures Executive Team)

Without a doubt home schooling has given parents a valuable insight into the challenges of teaching and a little bit more widespread appreciation of the skills and knowledge required! After the last year with little or no real school holidays due to Covid related pressures it seems there is a renewed thanks for the role of teachers and the fact that schools are absolutely at the centre of communities.

At Bright Futures Teaching School Hubs we want to celebrate and shout about the important role that teachers play in society. We also want to put teacher wellbeing front and centre of all our work. We know one way to support teachers is to invest in high quality professional development and we welcome the significant reforms in professional development nationally. Together, these reforms will help teachers and school leaders in every phase, subject and context feel more confident, clearly supported and in control of their careers. They will establish strong professional development cultures both within individual schools and across the country, elevating the quality of teaching and ultimately improving pupil outcomes. The Teacher development reforms are by career phase and will create a ‘golden thread’ of high-quality evidence underpinning the support, training and development available through the entirety of a teacher’s career. 

We know Teachers are the foundation of the education system – there are no great schools without great teachers. The quality of teaching is the single most important in-school factor for improving pupil outcomes, it is that simple.

You will know about the national roll-out of the Early Career Framework ( ECF). The ECF entitles early career teachers in the first two years of their career access to thorough support and mentoring during their induction. It is one of the most significant reforms to the teaching profession in a generation, aimed at providing extensive , evidence-based development that will produce better-trained teachers who are more likely to stay in the profession. Support for Early Career Teachers is being extended from one year to two years. Protected time in their second year will be supported by additional funding – providing them with an extra 5% non-teaching time in their second year.

The second lot of exciting updates are the huge changes to the National Professional Qualifications. Three new specialist qualifications will allow middle leaders and senior teachers opportunities to develop further specialist expertise. The remaining leadership qualifications for senior leaders, Headteachers and Executive Leaders are also being refreshed and updated making them more relevant for those who lead our schools.  More details here

This golden thread will be accessed through the new infrastructure of Teaching School Hubs.

Teaching School Hubs will partner with DfE approved Lead Providers to deliver training. Teaching School Hubs will be the backbone of the delivery mechanism and will be essential to the success of these reforms. The 87 Teaching School Hubs are school-led centres of excellence in professional development run by the country’s best MATS and schools.  Each Hub serves a designated area of the country, ensuring every school has easy access to support. Schools should work with their local hub and Local Authorities are of course supporting this national agenda and working closely with Hubs too.

Sir Kevan Collins points out, the ongoing professional development of teachers is “undoubtedly the best catch up offer” we have to respond to Covid.

Eleanor Davidson one of the Bright Futures Deputy Hub Directors responsible for ITT & ECF across our Hubs said “ the ECF has the power to shift thinking, transform the experiences for our newest entrants to the profession and secure success building on the ITT core content seamlessly”.  

This is about a long, sustainable impact, it is not a quick fix, we need to take a bigger picture view here and these changes will only have real impact if the school led system and other colleagues in localities embrace the changes, support the changes and work with Teaching School Hubs  to ensure sustainable, professional development that builds long-term success.

Further information about our Hubs at Bright Futures can be found here :

If you are a teaching school and want to know how you might work with us click here

If you are a school and want to register your ECTs click here

To register for our Leadership Programmes click here

DfE Early Career info here:


Blog written by Teach First

Why we’re excited about the new NPQ frameworks and Headteacher standards

During one of the most challenging years for schools, it’s never been more important or exciting to see thinking about how best to support school leaders.

The DfE shared the new NPQ frameworks and Headteachers’ standards last week. National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) have been an important part of developing teachers and leaders for over 20 years, and, whilst the new frameworks won’t be put into practice for another year, we were really excited to see the release.

A core part of Teach First’s strategy is supporting brilliant leaders. Our mission is to work with schools to make education fair – and we know that great leaders support great teachers, great schools and successful pupils. We currently work with middle and senior leaders, headteachers and leadership teams across our leadership programmes.

So why are these new frameworks particularly exciting? Upon analysis, we find they are:

1. Research-informed

The content of these frameworks and the underpinning evidence have been independently assessed and endorsed by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). It needs to be easy for teachers and leaders to find strategies that are most likely to work for their pupils, so it’s great to see this clearly laid out. The frameworks were also created in consultation and collaboration with teachers and leaders across the sector, including Teach First’s Reuben Moore – a member of the NPQ Expert Advisory Group. 

2. Aligned and coherent

The arrival of these frameworks also means that there is now alignment between the ITT Core Content Framework, the Early Careers Framework, up through all levels of leadership to Executive Leadership. Drawing on the same core evidence-base, and having shared language, will help drive collaboration, communication and focussed improvement in schools. Of course, as a research-informed profession, colleagues will engage in a breadth of evidence beyond this – but to align around key domains can only be helpful to align training and development across schools and the sector at large.

At Teach First, this is also exciting – we work with schools in developing staff at all levels, from new trainee teachers to headteachers – and we are excited to see further benefits to our schools from aligned and coherent support at all levels.

3. Domain-focused and specialised

Each framework is split into key domains of leadership, and it is clearly visible how they build on one another in different levels of NPQSL (Senior Leadership), NPQH (Headship) and NPQEL (Execute Leadership).

One big change is the replacement of the NPQML (Middle Leadership) with three specialist NPQs, focused on the specific expertise needed for: ‘leading behaviour and culture’, ‘leading teacher development’ and ‘leading teaching’. This new direction will not only enable the development of deep and specialist expertise, but will also support leaders further to directly apply that expertise in their schools. These clear domains provide an opportunity for more focus and clarity for defining what good leaders do – we can’t wait to work on them!

4. Progression and support

Finally, these frameworks were initially conceived a part of the DfE’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy. David Weston has written here about how these frameworks and standards see an increased focus on professional development and support for teachers. Teachers do one of the most important jobs in the world. If we support and develop great teachers and leaders well, we will help all pupils succeed.

During one of the most challenging years for schools, it’s never been more important or exciting to see thinking about how best to support leaders. It’s something we continue to think hard about at Teach First as we design our NPQ programmes and work alongside school leaders.

At Teach First we offer a range of leadership programmes, helping those eager to step up and build a fairer education system access the tools to do it.